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Mon, Nov 05, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Dec. 1 elections: '1992 consensus' becoming a heated campaign issue

There is now less than a month to go before the legislative and local government elections and campaigning has gone into overdrive. While the DPP and the KMT are concentrating on domestic policy issues, the TSU is trying hard to make itself look less like a one-man show while the PFP is focusing on cross-strait relations

By Stephanie Low and Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The issue of cross-strait relations again became a bone of contention between the DPP and opposition parties yesterday.

People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) argued that what the country has resisted over the past decades is not "one China," but communism.

Soong made his comments before a crowd of retired soldiers in Taipei County at a campaign rally for his fledgling party.

Soong said it was inappropriate for President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to equate the acceptance of "one China" with the demise of the Republic of China.

"Since retreating to Taiwan in 1949, the ROC has always insisted there is only one China," Soong told the crowd. "The policy has never caused the nation to falter in the last five decades. What we have rejected is communism, not China itself."

The PFP leader also used the title of the president's new book, The Premier Voyage of the Century, to criticize Chen's time in office, saying that like a rookie captain, Chen has led the country off the right course.

"Inexperienced and unlicensed, Chen has trouble even paddling a sampan, let alone steering this aircraft carrier [Taiwan]," Soong said. "That explains why we have had such a rough ride this past year and why so many of us have suffered from seasickness."

Soong also lashed out at former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), saying that while in office, Lee had been surrounded by incompetents who misled Lee into making a number of wrong decisions.

"Acting on their advice, Lee expelled me from the party and this cost the KMT its grasp on power," Soong said."That is why I have reminded people not to trust politicians who constantly brag about their love for Taiwan."

"What they really want is your vote. So don't just listen to what they say but examine what they've done to avoid being cheated."

KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) said Chen's refusal to acknowledge the "1992 consensus" amounts to a refusal to acknowledge the Republic of China.

Chen on Saturday reaffirmed his view that "accepting the `1992 consensus' would be tantamount to exterminating the ROC and agreeing to `one country, two systems.'"

According to the KMT, the "1992 consensus" refers to an agreement under which both sides are allowed to maintain different interpretations of the definition of "one China."

Lien said the KMT has always insisted that "one China" refers to the ROC, and that by not taking the same stance, Chen actually holds Beijing's view -- in other words, Lien says Chen is failing to recognize the ROC's existence.

Lien made the remarks at KMT campaign rallies in Keelung and Ilan County yesterday.

"We feel very strange that the ruling party is going along with the Chinese communists' view and hopes," Lien said, adding that the "one China, different interpretations" agreement should not be confused with the "one country, two systems" model because they are "totally different matters."

Lien said "one China, different interpretations" was the foundation for which cross-strait dialogue on an equal footing was made possible.

Lien pointed out that Taiwan conducted negotiations with China on the basis of the "1992 consensus" for eight to nine years, and that Taiwan was not sold out during that time.

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